Zob Ahan Esfahan F.C.

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Zob Ahan
ذوب آهن
Zob Ahan F.C. logo.png
Full name Zob Ahan CSC
Nickname(s) Crocodiles
Founded 6 July 1969; 45 years ago
Ground Foolad Shahr Stadium
Ground Capacity 15,000[1]
Owner Isfahan Steel Company
Chairman Saeed Azari
Head Coach Yahya Golmohammadi
League Persian Gulf Pro League
2015–16 Persian Gulf Pro League, 6th
Website Club home page
Current season
Departments of Zob Ahan
Football pictogram.svg Basketball pictogram.svg Volleyball (indoor) pictogram.svg
Football (men) Basketball (men) Volleyball (men)
Taekwondo pictogram.svg Swimming pictogram.svg Futsal pictogram.svg
Taekwondo (men) Swimming (men) Futsal (men)
Football pictogram.svg Basketball pictogram.svg Taekwondo pictogram.svg
Football (women) Basketball (women) Taekwondo (women)

Zob Ahan Football Club (Persian: باشگاه فوتبال ذوب آهن‎‎) is an Iranian football club based in Isfahan, Iran. They compete in the Persian Gulf Pro League. The team is sponsored by the Isfahan Steel Company, which also goes by the name Zob Ahan. The club's main rival is fellow Isfahani team Sepahan, which is also sponsored by the rival steel mill.

Zob Ahan club also has a basketball team, sponsored by the same Isfahan Steel Company, which is one of the teams in the Iranian Super League.

In the 2010 AFC Champions League. Zob Ahan finished as runners-up losing 3–1 to South Korean club Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma in the final.

Zob Ahan has won the Hazfi Cup on four occasions (2002–03, 2008–09, 2014–15 and 2015–16) and have finished as runners-up one time (2000–01). The club has also finished as League runners-up three times (2004–05, 2008–09 and 2009–10) and has won the Iranian Super Cup once (2016).

After the arrival of Yahya Golmohammadi in 2014 the club became known for playing beautiful and possession based football.[2]

Club history[edit]

Early years (1969–1980)[edit]

Mohammad Ali Taghizadeh Farahmand established the club in 1969. They entered the Takht Jamshid Cup in 1973 and end season in the 10th place. They promoted to the quarterfinals of the Hazfi Cup in 1976. Their best results in Takht Jamshid Cup was earned in 1977–78 in the 8th place. Zob Ahan prepared its team by buying 14 players from their local rivals Sepahan.

Azadegan League (1980–2001)[edit]

The team has participated in the highest division of the Iranian league system since 1973, except for the 1995 season when they played in the 2nd division. After Iranian Revolution in 1979, Takht Jamshid Cup was suspended due to Iran-Iraq War. After the end of the war, league began again in the title of Azadegan League. They were once again promoted to the 1st division the year after.

IPL (2001–present)[edit]

Zob Ahan currently play in the IPL starting from 2001. The club's first honor, remains the winning of the Hazfi Cup in 2003, after defeating the Shiraz-based team Moghavemat Sepasi in the finals.[3] This feat was repeated in the 2008–09 Hazfi Cup, when the club beat Rah Ahan to re-claim the title after 6 years.[4] The club made its first appearance in the AFC Champions League in 2004, as the winners of the 2003 Hazfi Cup, but were eliminated in the group stages.

Having missed out so narrowly on winning their first-ever domestic league title in the 2008–09 season, Zobahan were one of the title contenders once again in the 2009–10 season, never dropping out of the top-four positions throughout the season. However, at the end, they had to settle for second place once again after finishing six points behind their city rivals Sepahan. They also lost their grip on the Hazfi Cup after a shock 0–2 loss to a second-division side Gostaresh Foulad in the semi-finals.[5]

2010 AFC Champion League[edit]

In the 2010 AFC Champions League Zob Ahan finished first on the group stage that included FC Bunyodkor, Al-Wahda and Al-Ittihad. By finishing first they qualified for the first time for the Knockout stages. On the Round of 16 they draw country neighbours Mes Kerman winning 1–0. The club then qualified to the Quarter-finals and were drawn with title holders Pohang Steelers, Zob Ahan won 2–1 at home and draw 1–1 on Korea, knocking-out shockingly the title holders. Zob Ahan played against Saudi powerhouse Al Hilal which they won 1–0 at home, and won 1–0 on Saudi Arabia with a goal from Igor Castro leading the club to an historical Asian Champions League final where they face Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma. On November 13, in the final Zob Ahan lost 1–3 to Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma. At half-time the score was 0–1 with a goal from Saša Ognenovski, in the second-half Zob Ahan conceded an early goal scored by Cho Byung-Kuk making the score 0–2, Zob Ahan finally scored the goal from Mohammad Reza Khalatbari making 1–2, but on the last minutes of the game Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma scored the 1–3 and killed the game. Zob Ahan couldn't be the champions on their 2nd Asian Champions League participation always being under-dogs, but they fought like warriors and made Iran proud. The following year the club made it to the quarter finals but lost to Korean club Suwon Samsung Bluewings.

Dark years[edit]

After the 2011 Champions League, Zob Ahan's golden age seemed all but over. A 6th place league finish in 2012 meant that the club failed to retain its spot in the Champions League. The following year, the club finished 14th in the league, narrowly avoiding relegation through a play off. Fan attendance started to dip and Zob Ahan had another sub par year in the 2013–14 Iran Pro League season, finishing 13th, changing three managers during the course of the season and again narrowly avoiding relegation.

Resurrection under Golmohammadi[edit]

Zob Ahan players celebrating Hazfi Cup title in 2015

In summer of 2014 Zob Ahan announced Yahya Golmohammadi as the club's new manager. Golmohammadi introduced a possession based philosophy to Zob Ahan and after a poor start to the season, Golmohammadi's tactics and the addition of Kaveh Rezaei paid off and Zob Ahan when on a six match unbeaten run which placed them 6th in week 23. On 5 December 2015 Zob Ahan defeated Persepolis 2–1 in the Hazfi Cup semi-final to advance to the final for the fourth time in club history. On 15 May 2015 after a 0–0 draw against Padideh, Zob Ahan finished fourth and returned to the AFC Champions League after five years. Zob Ahan also won their third Hazfi Cup title after defeating Naft Tehran 3–1 in the final.

On 23 February 2016 Zob Ahan won its first match AFC Champions League since 2011, defeating Lekhwiya of Qatar 1–0. Zob Ahan qualified for the Round of 16 of the AFC Champions League on 20 April 2016 after defeating Saudi club Al Nassr 3–0 in match day 5. However, Zob Ahan were defeated 3–1 on aggregate by Emirati club Al Ain in the Round of 16. Zob Ahan once again qualified for the final of the 2016 Hazfi Cup to defend their crown against Esteghlal. Zob Ahan defeated Esteghlal in penalties and won the Hazfi Cup for the fourth time in the clubs history. Zob Ahan won the Iranian Super Cup after beating Esteghlal Khuzestan 4–2 in extra time. This was the first trophy that Zob Ahan won in Foolad Shahr Stadium.

Colours and crest[edit]

One of Zob Ahan's nicknames is Sabzpoushan ("The Greens", Persian: سبز پوشان‎‎), stemming from their traditional kit, which is predominantly green. From the foundation of the club, the common home kit includes a green shirt, black or white shorts, and white or yellow socks. White and black colours are also seen in the kit. The away kit of the club is commonly with a white background.

Stadium and facilities[edit]

Main article: Foolad Shahr Stadium

The home stadium of the club is Foolad Shahr Stadium located in Fooladshahr, Isfahan. The stadium had 20,000 capacity but was renovated to hold about 30,000 people in 2011. The stadium was built in 1998. There training stadium is located outside of Isfahan named Zob Ahan Private Stadium.

Rivalries[edit]

Main article: Esfahan derby

Zob Ahan is part of the Esfahan derby or Naghsh-e-Jahan derby, one of the biggest derby's in Iran. According to Iranian football journalist Afshin Afshar, the rivalry between Zob Ahan and Sepahan is one of the most important matches in the Iran Pro League.

The Esfahan derby goes back to the 1970s, when Zob Ahan and Sepahan faced each other in Takht Jamshid Cup seasons (1974/75, 1975/76, 1976/77, 1977/78). Their rivalry resumed in the 1990s when they faced each other in Azadegan League seasons (1993/94, 1996/97, 1997/98) and from then on the two met each other twice a year.

Players[edit]

First-team squad[edit]

Zob Ahan team image before AFC Champions League match, 1 March 2016

See also 2016–17 Zob Ahan F.C. season.

As of 1 July 2016[6] Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 Iran GK Hamid Erfani
2 Iran DF Mohammad Nejad Mehdi
3 Iran DF Vahid Mohammadzadeh
6 Iran MF Mehdi Mehdipour U23
7 Iran MF Mohammad Reza Hosseini
8 Iran MF Ghasem Hadadifar (Vice Captain)
10 Iran MF Ehsan Pahlevan U23
11 Iran MF Morteza Tabrizi (3rd Captain)
12 Iran GK Mohammad Rashid Mazaheri
17 Iran MF Mohammadreza Abbasi U21
18 Lebanon DF Ali Hamam
19 Iran DF Mehrdad Ghanbari
20 Iran DF Hojjat Haghverdi
No. Position Player
23 Iran MF Danial Esmaeilifar
24 Iran MF Reza Shekari U21
26 Iran DF Nima Taheri U21
27 Honduras FW Jerry Bengtson
28 Iran FW Ali Khodadadi U21
30 Iran FW Mehdi Rajabzadeh (captain)
31 Iran FW Hamidreza Jafari U21
32 Iran MF Mehran Derakhshan Mehr U21
33 Iran DF Mohammad Sattari
35 Iran MF Kamran Momeni U21
36 Iran DF Kianoush Eghbali U21
40 Iran GK Peyman Salmani U23
70 Iran FW Yaser Feyzi

For recent transfers, see List of Iranian football transfers summer 2016.

Notable players[edit]

This list of former players includes those who received international caps while playing for the team, made significant contributions to the team in terms of appearances or goals while playing for the team, or who made significant contributions to the sport either before they played for the team, or after they left. It is clearly not yet complete and all inclusive, and additions and refinements will continue to be made over time.

Famous Players[edit]

For notable players see List of Zon Ahan F.C. players.
For details on former players see Category:Zob Ahan Esfahan F.C. players.

Players on international cups[edit]

Cup Players
Argentina 1978 FIFA World Cup Iran Rasoul Korbekandi
United Arab Emirates 1996 AFC Asian Cup Iran Ali Akbar Ostad-Asadi
France 1998 FIFA World Cup Iran Ali Akbar Ostad-Asadi
IndonesiaMalaysia 2007 AFC Asian Cup
ThailandVietnam
Iran Mehdi Rajabzadeh
Qatar 2011 AFC Asian Cup Iran Shahab Gordan
Iran Ghasem Haddadifar
Iran Mohammad Reza Khalatbari
Iran Farshid Talebi
Brazil 2014 FIFA World Cup Iran Ghasem Haddadifar

Club captains[edit]

Mehdi Rajabzadeh is the current captain of Zob Ahan
# Name Nat Career in
Zob Ahan
Captaincy Shirt
Num
1
Rasoul Korbekandi Iran 1969–80 1970–80
1
2
Mahmood Ebrahimzadeh Iran
Iran
1976–86 1980–86
7
3
Rahman Rezaei Iran 1996–01 1997–00
10
4
Ali Akbar Ostad-Asadi Iran 1995–03 2000–03
15
5
Sepehr Heidari Iran 2000–07
2012–14
2003–07
3
6
Mohammad Salsali Iran 2004–14 2007–14
7
7
Mehdi Rajabzadeh Iran 2003–07
2010–11
2012–
2014–
30

Club officials[edit]

IPL managers[edit]

Only IPL matches are counted.

Last updated 13 May 2016.

Name Nat From To Record
P W D L Win % Final Position
Nasser Hejazi Iran Jul 2001 Dec 2001 20 8 6 4 40% 3rd (until week 20)
Bahram Atef Iran Dec 2001 Jul 2002 6 2 3 3 33.4% (01-02) 6th
Samvel Darbinyan Armenia Jul 2002 May 2003 52 21 11 20 40% (02-03) 8th (03-04) 4th
Rasoul Korbekandi Iran May 2003 Jun 2007 90 39 26 25 43.4% (04-05) 2nd, (05-06) 6th, (06-07) 8th
Zoran Đorđević Serbia Jun 2007 Oct 2007 10 3 4 3 30% 17th (until week 10)
Bijan Zolfagharnasab Iran Oct 2007 May 2008 24 8 11 5 33.4% (07-08) 6th
Mansour Ebrahimzadeh Iran Jul 2008 Jun 2012 134 62 48 24 46.3% (08-09) 2nd,
(09-10) 2nd,(10–11) 3rd,
(11-12) 6th
Rasoul Korbekandi Iran Jun 2012 Oct 2012 11 3 1 7 27.3% 15th (until week 11)
Farhad Kazemi Iran Oct 2012 Jul 2013 23 6 10 7 26% (12-13) 14th
Luka Bonačić Croatia Jul 2013 Jan 2014 20 3 7 10 15% 14th (until week 20)
Mojtaba Taghavi Iran Jan 2014 Feb 2014 7 1 4 2 14.3% 15th (until week 27)
Firouz Karimi Iran Feb 2014 Jun 2014 4 3 0 1 75% (13-14) 13th
Yahya Golmohammadi Iran Jun 2014 Present 60 25 23 12 41.66% (14-15) 4th
(15–16) 6th

Current coaching staff[edit]

Position Name
Head Coach Iran Yahya Golmohammadi
Assistant Coach Iran Mojtaba Hosseini
Assistant Coach Iran Hassan Esteki
Goalkeeping Coach Iran Davoud Fanaei
Fitness Coach Iran Behzad Noshadi
Physiotherapist Iran Abbas Moradi
Performance Analyst Iran Reza Nasr Esfahani
Analyzer Iran Mohammad Askari
Doctor Iran Dr. Amir Hossein Sharifianpour
Logistics Iran Mahmoud Mehruyan
Team Director Iran Ali Shojaei

Chairpersons[edit]

Chairperson Tenure
Iran Mohammad Mehdi Taghizadeh
July 1969 – July 1977
Iran Mostafa Ghanei
July 1977 – February 1979
Iran Asghar Nilchian
May 1979 – May 1984
Iran Fazollah Omranian
May 1984 – May 1988
Iran Heydar Taheri
May 1988 – May 1992
Iran Nematollah Zargar
May 1992 – June 1996
Iran Alireza Shogi
June 1996 – June 2004
Iran Saeed Azari
June 2004 – June 2009
Iran Asghar Dalili
June 2009 – August 2011
Iran Khosro Ebrahimi
August 2011 – September 2013
Iran Saeed Azari
September 2013 – present

Season-by-season[edit]

The table below chronicles the achievements of Zob Ahan since 1973.

Season League Position Hazfi Cup ACL Notes
1973–74 Takht Jamshid Cup 10th Not held Did not qualify
1974–75 Takht Jamshid Cup 11th
1975–76 Takht Jamshid Cup 9th 1/8 Final
1976–77 Takht Jamshid Cup 15th 1/16 Final
1977–78 Takht Jamshid Cup 8th Not held
1978–79 Takht Jamshid Cup N/A did not finish
1981–82 Isfahan's 2nd Division 1st Promoted
1983–84 Isfahan League 3rd
1984–85 Isfahan League 2nd
1991–92 Isfahan League 5th
1993–94 Azadegan League 4th 1/8 Final
1994–95 Azadegan League 8th 1/16 Final Relegated
1995–96 2nd Division 2nd 1/8 Final Promoted
1996–97 Azadegan League 10th 1/8 Final
1997–98 Azadegan League 3rd Not held
1998–99 Azadegan League 12th Third Round
1999–00 Azadegan League 5th First Round
2000–01 Azadegan League 4th Final
2001–02 Iran Pro League 6th Quarterfinal
2002–03 Iran Pro League 8th Cup
2003–04 Iran Pro League 4th Semi-Final First Round
2004–05 Iran Pro League 2nd 1/8 Final Did not qualify
2005–06 Iran Pro League 6th 1/8 Final
2006–07 Iran Pro League 8th 1/16 Final
2007–08 Iran Pro League 6th 1/8 Final
2008–09 Iran Pro League 2nd Cup
2009–10 Iran Pro League 2nd Semi-Final Runner-up
2010–11 Iran Pro League 3rd 1/16 Final 1/4 Final
2011–12 Iran Pro League 6th 1/8 Final Play-off
2012–13 Iran Pro League 14th 1/4 Final Did not qualify
2013–14 Iran Pro League 13th 1/4 Final
2014–15 Persian Gulf Pro League 4th Cup
2015–16 Persian Gulf Pro League 6th Cup 1/8 Final Super Cup

Individual records[edit]

Lists of the players with the most caps and top goalscorers for the club, (players in bold signifies current Zob Ahan player). Mehdi Rajabzadeh is the club's all-time most capped player and top scorer with 76 goals in 219 games. This list includes goals from Iran Premier League.

Top Four Highest Goalscorers
Player Period Appearances Goals
1 Iran Mehdi Rajabzadeh 2003–07; 2010–11; 2012–present 249 82
2 Iran Esmaeil Farhadi 2005–15 280 44
3 Iran Mohammad Reza Khalatbari 2006–11 128 34
4 Brazil Igor Castro 2008–12 121 30

Top Scorers by Season[edit]

Season Player Goals
2001–02 Iran Reza Sahebi 7
2002–03 Iran Reza Sahebi 6
2003–04 Iran Mehdi Rajabzadeh 9
2004–05 Iran Mehdi Rajabzadeh 8
2005–06 Iran Mehdi Rajabzadeh 14
2006–07 Iran Mehdi Rajabzadeh 17
2007–08 Iran Esmaeil Farhadi 9
2008–09 Brazil Igor Castro 16
2009–10 Iran Mohammad Reza Khalatbari 11
2010–11 Iran Seyed Mohammad Hosseini 12
2011–12 Iran Mohammad Ghazi 7
2012–13 Iran Mehdi Rajabzadeh 8
2013–14 Iran Mehdi Rajabzadeh 9
2014–15 Iran Masoud Hassanzadeh 9
2015–16 Iran Morteza Tabrizi 7

Asian record[edit]

Zob Ahan's starting line-up Final against Seongnam, 2010 AFC Champions League

Asian Club Championship / AFC Champions League[edit]

Asian Club Championship / AFC Champions League
Season Round Rival Home Away Rank/Agg. Notes
2004 Group Stage
(Group A)
Uzbekistan Pakhtakor 1–0 2–0 2
Qatar Qatar SC 3–3 0–0
Bahrain Riffa
2010 Group Stage
(Group B)
Saudi Arabia Al-Ittihad 1–0 2–2 1 Runners-up
Uzbekistan Bunyodkor 3–0 0–1
United Arab Emirates Al-Wahda 1–0 1–0
Round of 16 Iran Mes Kerman 1–0 1–0
Quarter-finals South Korea Pohang Steelers 2–1 1–1 3–2
Semi-finals Saudi Arabia Al-Hilal 1–0 0–1 2–0
Final South Korea Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma 1–3
2011 Group Stage
(Group D)
Qatar Al-Rayyan 0–1 1–3 1
United Arab Emirates Emirates 2–1 0–1
Saudi Arabia Al-Shabab 0–1 0–0
Round of 16 Saudi Arabia Al-Nassr 4–1 4–1
Quarter-finals South Korea Suwon Samsung Bluewings 1–1 2–1 2–3
2012 Qualifying play-off Iran Esteghlal 2–0 2–0 Not Qualify
2016 Group Stage
(Group B)
Qatar Lekhwiya 0–0 0–1 1
Uzbekistan Bunyodkor 5–2 0–0
Saudi Arabia Al-Nassr 3–0 0-3
Round of 16 United Arab Emirates Al-Ain 0–2 1-1 1–3

Top Goalscorers in AFC Champions League[edit]

Rank Player Goals Seasons
1 Brazil Igor Castro 8 2010, 2011, 2012
2 Iran Mohammad Reza Khalatbari 6 2010, 2011
Iran Mohammad Ghazi 6 2010, 2011, 2012
3 Iran Mehdi Rajabzadeh 3 2004, 2010, 2016
Iran Ehsan Pahlavan 3 2016
4 IranSeyed Mohammad Hosseini 2 2010, 2011
Iran Ghasem Haddadifar 2 2010, 2011, 2016
Iran Esmaeil Farhadi 2 2010, 2011, 2012
Iran Kaveh Rezaei 2 2016
5 Iran Shahin Kheiri 1 2010, 2011
Nigeria Emmanuel Ezukam 1 2004
Iran Ali Tahmasebi 1 2004
Iran Reza Azizi 1 2004
Iran Hamid Azizzadeh 1 2004
Iran Danial Esmaeilifar 1 2016
Iran Vahid Mohammadzadeh 1 2016
Iran Morteza Tabrizi 1 2016
Iran Masoud Hassanzadeh 1 2016
Iran Hashem Beikzadeh 1 2016
Iran Mohammadreza Abbasi 1 2016

Club honours[edit]

Domestic[edit]

Runners-up (3): 2004–05, 2008–09, 2009–10
Winners (4): 2002–03, 2008–09, 2014–15, 2015–16
Runners-up (1): 2000–01
Winners (1): 2016

Continental[edit]

Runners-up (1): 2010

Ownership[edit]

The owner of the Zob Ahan FC is Isfahan Steel Company. Company is the first Iranian steel maker opened in late 1960, based close to the cities of Fooladshahr and Zarrinshahr, Isfahan Province.

Zob Ahan-e Esfahan and Iran's first car manufacturer, Iran National (renamed Iran Khodro after the Iranian revolution) were parts of a significant move from mainly agriculture-based economy toward industrialization by the pre-revolutionary government of Amir Abbas Hoveida.

References[edit]

External links[edit]

External[edit]

Achievements
Preceded by
Esteghlal F.C.
Hazfi Cup Champions
2002–03
Succeeded by
Sepahan F.C.
Preceded by
Esteghlal F.C.
IPL Runner-up
2004–05
Succeeded by
PAS Tehran
Preceded by
Sepahan F.C.
IPL Runner-up
2008–09
Succeeded by
Holders
Preceded by
Esteghlal F.C.
Hazfi Cup Champions
2008–09
Succeeded by
Perspolis F.C.
Preceded by
Holders
IPL Runner-up
2009–10
Succeeded by
Esteghlal F.C.
Preceded by
Al-Ittihad
ACL Runner-up
2010
Succeeded by
Jeonbuk
Preceded by
Tractor Sazi F.C.
Hazfi Cup Champions
2014–15
Succeeded by
Holders
Preceded by
Holders
Hazfi Cup Champions
2015–16
Succeeded by
Incumbent